Covid-19: the closure of refreshment bars in sports areas is a blow to the finances of Eure-et-Loir clubs

Attending a football, basketball or handball match with a drink in one hand and a sandwich in the other is no longer possible. Since January 3, the consumption of food and drink is no longer authorized within sports grounds during matches.

A measure that leads to the closure of refreshments and a loss of earnings for the clubs. ” It has a big impact, assures Arnaud Marquer, co-president of C’Chartres Basket Féminin. On a match, the bar brings in around 1,500 euros while the ticket office is around 1,000 euros. »

“To complete a season, every euro counts. »

Benoit Gasnier (President of C’Chartres Table Tennis)

If all the clubs contacted specify that the closure of refreshment bars will not put their finances at risk, for many this loss is still to be taken into account. “Over the year, the refreshments represent less than 5% of the club’s revenue, specifies Benoît Gasnier, president of C’Chartres Tennis de table. We have the budget to absorb their closure, but it still represents 5,000 euros. It’s not nothing. To complete a season, every euro counts. Especially since the CCTT, like others, offers free entry to ProA matches. 100% of income therefore comes from the refreshment bar on match nights.

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Another concern is the duration of this measure. If, for the time being, it is only scheduled until Monday, an extension could accentuate the backlash. “The problem is the duration, confirms Gérard Soler, president of C’Chartres Football. On a match, it only has a small impact but if it lasts six months it will become more important. »

The end of VIP parties

In addition to the bar ban, it is also the cancellation of post-match receptions which poses a problem. Indeed, the government decision also indicates that, before or after the match, the consumption of food is authorized only in “bars and restaurants or similar delimited spaces integrated into sports enclosures”, on condition of being “seated and served by a catering professional in compliance with the UNHCR protocol”.

“With this measure, it is the business part that stops. »

Arnaud Marquer (Co-president of C’Chartres Basket Féminin)

From then on, all the clubs offering partner or VIP evenings after the meeting had to give it up. “Our VIP evenings bring together four hundred people. For seated consumption, you would need a gymnasium, even a gymnasium and a half, and thirty waiters. It is not viable for the club, ”regrets Steeve Baron, president of C’Chartres Métropole Handball. The CCBF also had to give up its post-match evenings, including that of an important partner who had planned to do an afterwork during the January 14 match, according to Arnaud Marquer. “We canceled. With this measure, the business part stops. »

Indeed, even more than the absence of income from the refreshment bar, clubs are afraid to see the search for and retention of partners become complicated without these moments conducive to exchanges, promoting or inviting potential future investors.

The cancellation of these evenings does not only affect professional clubs. AST Châteauneuf handball, a club playing in the Men’s Pre-National and Women’s National 2, is in the same situation: “We had a big evening planned for a partner, we had to cancel”, deplores the president, Arnaud Favril. He too fears that the cancellation of this kind of event will complicate the search for sponsors, a task already made more difficult by the health and economic situation.

Refreshments, not just recipes

But, beyond the financial aspect, it is above all the loss of places conducive to conviviality and exchanges which bothers the clubs.

“The bar is part of the experience of the evening, assures Steeve Baron. When you have a bar with good beer, sodas and good sandwiches, it is also part of the whole evening. It is important for everyone. For some it is a ritual. They arrive half an hour before the start of the match to have a drink with their friends. » “The refreshment bar is a place of exchange, which allows you to create links between people, adds Benoît Gasnier. And right now we really need it. »

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Despite everything, some leaders prefer to put the impact of this measure into perspective. Jean-Marie Léger, secretary general of C’Chartres Rugby, a club which has not been able to complete its championship for the past two seasons due to the health situation, takes this ban with philosophy: “We could expect worse. We lose conviviality, but we understand that the situation requires it. It’s just a minor constraint. »

After two difficult years, where the activity very often had to stop, the sports managers concede it: the most important thing is not the bar, but the ground.

And after the game?
This is the tradition in many sports. Once the “fight” on the pitch is over, it’s time for the third half. And, with it, the post-match meal or snack, offered by the local team to the actors of the meeting. “When we receive, we have to ensure the catering of the team that comes to us”, explains Benoît Gasnier, president of C’Chartres Tennis de table before adding, with regret: “During the last match, we had to warn the opposing team that we could not provide this restoration. »

Indeed, since the latest directives, clubs can no longer organize this meal, unless they have a space dedicated to catering and consumption is “seated and served by a catering professional”. A restriction that many club officials consider more restrictive than the closure of refreshments. “What bothers us, more than the financial aspect, is the loss of certain moments of conviviality, especially for young people, confirms Arnaud Favril, president of AST Châteauneuf handball. The traditional post-match snack at the bar is no longer possible. »

A moment of sharing between teammates and opponents, but not only: “With us, the volunteers share the meal with the players, specifies Benoît Gasnier. Today, we can no longer thank them by offering them this moment of exchange and closeness which could sometimes last several hours. »

To take away
Beyond this conviviality, Jean-Marie Léger, secretary general of C’Chartres Rugby, insists on the role played by this meal: “It is important for the physical integrity of the players that they can eat right away. after the game. We pay attention to what we prepare for them. ” ” When you play away, it’s difficult. We often finish late and the clubs do not provide a budget for eating, adds Jean-Baptiste Baron del Amo, president of C’Chartres Volley. There, when we play late on Saturday evening, in Touraine for example, at the end of the match we will have nothing to drink or eat. »

So, to be able to continue to provide this snack, some clubs have thought about an alternative: the packed lunch. Prepare food as usual but wrap it to give to opponents. “But we can no longer gather and we do not want to take this risk”, assures Arnaud Favril.

What also limit the party after the matches. Victorious against an N3 club (Amilly) in the round of 16 of the Center Cup, the footballers of Épernon (R3) could not celebrate this feat. At least, neither inside the stadium nor in the locker room. But, Fabrice Travers, the president of the club, assures him: the absence of a drink or a snack did not spoil the party or “the smiles”, which he took the time to appreciate after such an evening.

Mathieu Brosseau
[email protected]

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